Police watch the Liverpool crowd during the Champions League final at the Stade de France (Picture: PA)
Merseyside Police has defended ‘exemplary’ Liverpool fans at the Champions League final after they were tear-gassed by French officers.
A spokesperson dubbed the violent clashes in Paris the ‘worst’ they had seen at a European football match after the Reds lost 1-0 to Real Madrid.
Shambolic scenes outside the ground saw supporters with tickets made to wait in huge queues until after the match began.
Some fans were filmed jumping the turnstiles amid the chaos, while police officers used pepper-spray ‘unprovoked’ on others as they waited to get in.
Uefa blamed the delay on the late arrival of Liverpool fans, but the club said that was ‘totally inaccurate’.
‘MERPOL was deployed to this evening’s match,’ A Merseyside Police spokesperson said.
‘Can only describe it as the worst European match I’ve ever worked or experienced.
Police spray tear gas at Liverpool fans outside the stadium (Picture: Getty)
A Liverpool fan is jostled by police as he tries to enter through the gate while holding a ticket (Picture: Reuters)
Liverpool fans are made to wait at the turnstiles before the game (Picture: Reuters)
‘I thought the behaviour of the fans at the turnstiles was exemplary in shocking circumstances. You were not late 100%.’
Fans swore at armed police officers in the area as they left, saying their tactics led to the mayhem.
Prefecture de Police, the Parisian police force, said in a statement queues formed after fans arrived without tickets.
It continued: ‘Exerting strong pressure to enter the enclosure, these supporters delayed access to spectators with tickets.
‘Taking advantage of this action, a number of people managed to cross the gates protecting the stadium enclosure.
Fans climb the fence of the Stade de France before Champions League final (Picture: AFP)
Thousands of Liverpool supporters in a fan zone in Paris ahead of the final (Picture: PA)
‘The rapid intervention of the police allowed the return to calm and the evacuation of the disturbers outside the forecourt of the Stade de France.
‘The dispersal of the spectators takes place without difficulty. No major incident was observed in the two fan zones.’
French government figures also blamed the travelling British fans.
Sport minister Amelie Oudea-Castera wrote on Twitter: ‘The attempts of intrusion and fraud by thousands of English fans have complicated the work of stewards and police forces but will not tarnish (Real Madrid’s) victory.
‘Violence has no place in the stadiums.’
One supporter could be heard saying he was left waiting outside for four hours with a ticket due to the delays.
Riot police shove a Liverpool fan with a shield outside the Stade de France (Picture: AFP)
Speaking after the game, Robbie, 24, said: ‘I got pepper-sprayed, the first time that’s ever happened to me.
‘It was unprovoked, people were just standing there waving at the police to let us in, we had tickets.
‘Police were just spraying us for no reason, even kids and older people, it was bad.’
He said fans had not been acting inappropriately at the time.
Some Liverpool fans could be seen arguing with Real Madrid supporters and locals outside the stadium after the match.
Footage on social media appeared to show people climbing over barriers as crowds built up, and the kick-off was delayed by more than 30 minutes.
Police carrying shields and riot gear had moved into the area shortly after 8pm.
Supporters showed what appeared to be tickets to officers after a gate was closed, denying them entry.
Bottles were thrown at the officers who responded with tear gas, leaving some fans holding their eyes.
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